Visit from Santa just what the doctor ordered for little Josh and his fellow patients
A special little boy got a festive surprise when Father Christmas turned up at a Belfast hospital.
Joshua Campbell from Lisburn was mesmerised by Titanic Belfast's Santa appearing at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children ahead of the three-year-old's journey to London in the new year for open heart surgery.
Joshua was among the lucky boys and girls to chat to and receive a present from the man himself.
Titanic Belfast said the team at the visitor attraction was pleased that patients enjoyed meeting their Father Christmas, "who was pleased to add something special to the lives of these very deserving children".
Rebeccca Campbell (32), a canteen worker at Lagan Valley Hospital, and her husband David Campbell (33), a kitchen fitter, are travelling to the Evelina Hospital with Joshua for his heart operation on January 7.
"He has aortic stenosis so will have open heart surgery," Rebecca explained.
"He has swelling around the heart muscle and one of his valves is damaged, so they are repairing it."
Joshua met Santa when he was seeing a play specialist at the Royal who was explaining to Joshua what would happen in London.
"He loved him," Rebecca said. "For Christmas he wants a big digger and a Thomas the Tank Engine bike."
Rebecca, David, Joshua, sister Chloe (12) and seven-month-old brother Luke will be enjoying all that the festive season has to offer. Then, in the new year, Joshua will go through surgery for a second time.
Rebecca praised the staff providing care to her little boy.
"He had open heart surgery at 10 weeks and he has check-ups in the Royal every four months," she explained.
"The hospital staff are brilliant. Dr Grant is fantastic.
"When he was a baby the nurses in the Clark Clinic (at the Royal) were fantastic.
"He was in Dublin, in Crumlin, at Our Lady's Hospital in April for tests, and they were brilliant too. The staff were fantastic."
Rebecca says that, unlike the first occasion, her family has had the chance to prepare for Joshua having surgery, but it is still a very emotional experience.
"It is different this time," she said. "When he was a baby, it was emergency surgery, but this time we have time to think about it. It is scary."